Month: April 2012

Ladies Lounge: Slips

“Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.” I’m sure we ladies have all seen that quote at least 100 times.  And lucky for me that there were so many women in the 50’s who evidently hadn’t been given this advice. In fact, I’m guessing the quote was originated by a daughter or granddaughter of that generation–born of observing those ladies tuck all the nicest stuff away, but I digress… And speaking of which, why don’t women wear “fancy” lingerie at all anymore? Oh, there are...

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President Abraham Lincoln’s Last Stop in Indianapolis

April 30, 1865-While the city was rejoicing over the fall of Richmond and the surrender of Lee, the news came that President Lincoln had been assassinated. Never withing the history of the city had such an excitement existed as was occasioned by this news. In almost an instant the news was spread over the whole city, and in another instant the streets were filled with an excited throng. Tears coursed down the cheeks of strong  men as they stood on the streets discussing this terrible event. Deep anger was at once aroused against all who had been known to...

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Sunday Prayers: Prather Masonic Temple, 42nd & College

Every time I pass this, I think about what the ground floor, in particular, looked like originally. Indiana Historical Society has a few old pics of the Prather Masonic Temple, opened in 1921. (The IHS collection includes some interior shots as well). Looks like Binkley’s Drug Store formerly occupied the ground floor, and I dunno about you, but I’m a fan of street level visual appeal, not tons of painted plywood. Would be fabulous to see those windows opened back up! Your...

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Sunday Adverts: Architects in 1914 Indianapolis

Last night’s fundraiser for Indiana Landmarks included (among many fabulous features) the announcement of this year’s 10 Most Endangered List.  Thinking of all the beautiful structures in need of saving and preservation or those that have been lost –or saved–inevitably brings to mind the architects of decades ago who created those very structures. Here are a couple pages from the 1914 Indianapolis City Directory, with quite a few familiar names of well-known Indianapolis architects. Fascinating to find where their offices were, as well. Never realized Herbert Foltz had an office in the Pythian Building. Which names do you...

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Indianapolis Collected: There’s No Place Like Dome

In August 1888, Harper’s Weekly published a scathing review of Indiana’s recently completed Statehouse, blaming the “sad failure” of its architecture on penny-pinching legislators who “ruthlessly sacrificed” architectural effect in order to keep the project within its $2 million appropriation. Huh? I’ve spent most of my working life at the Statehouse, and the only sad failure I’ve ever found in the design is with the elevators. These remain as slow and unreliable today as they were in 1900, when the Statehouse custodian issued a public report complaining that the elevators were both “ancient and perplexing.” Notwithstanding the elevator situation,...

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Heritage Steward: Mary Jane Teeters-Eichacker

NAME: Mary Jane Teeters-Eichacker TITLE: Curator of Social History  FOR: Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites SINCE? 1995 ORIGINALLY FROM? I grew up on a farm in the Greenwood, Indiana area. YOUR JOB DUTIES INCLUDE? Planning exhibits; choosing and collecting appropriate artifacts for the museum in my areas of responsibility; working with donors, lenders, researchers, and the public; giving talks; writing; helping with the historic sites’ renovations and exhibits; researching and cataloging artifacts for the website and in-house database. Boredom’s never a problem! YOU WORK HOW MANY HOURS WEEKLY? 40ish, unless I have an exhibit deadline! I try hard...

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Friday Favorite: On Broadway

This is one you’d have to go looking for; it’s not like you’re just going to chance upon it, since there’s no through-way and it abuts the highway that excised a substantial swath between Old Northside and St. Joseph historic neighborhoods. I love this house: the porch, the glass circle with the house number, the tower and its cap–what a stunner. I am inclined to believe this one will one day have a marker in front of it, since it is also a former home of Governor Frank O’Bannon and First Lady, Judy O’Bannon. You don’t see too many...

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Indianapolis Then & Now: Saint Mary’s School and Marian Center 311 N. New Jersey Street

You’ve seen this view if you’ve ever exited onto N. New Jersey Street from the Lockerbie Marsh grocery store (still stubbornly referred to by longtime downtowners as O’Malia’s or even a weird mash-up of O’Marsh or Marshmalias). This ca. 1950 negative was made by the Indianapolis Fire Department to document a forlorn frame house in the 300 block of N. New Jersey Street. It looks abandoned and many windows have been removed. A billposter took advantage of the porch walls to advertise local events. By 1956 the house was gone and I speculate that the firemen took this photograph...

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WTH Weds: Think Outside the Box!

Clearly the person who remodeled this house knew covering the windows with vinyl siding was a bad idea. However, those instincts can only get you so far: in this case whatever the hell this frame is… and solar powered lights? We don’t know what’s happening, but we don’t like it. Pertinent Address: 1100 Block, Churchman...

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Building Language: Fluting

Fluting. Architectural columns are one of those features found just about anywhere and everywhere you look in Indianapolis. However, columns contain a substantial vocabulary to describe even the smallest of features on each individual column. Today, we’ll touch on one element associated primarily with columns, but can be employed on another architectural features. Fluting describes a series of long, semicircular or partially elliptical grooves, placed parallel to one another to cover a surface. A single groove is known singularly as a flute or stria. Fluting primarily occurs on the shaft of classical columns, either cylindrical or pilaster (column attached...

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Ladies Lounge: The Skirts Have It

“There’s nothing new under the sun,” so the saying goes–and never more so than in the world of fashion. There are, in fact, just so many ways you can drape and decorate the human form. If you’re a regular reader of this column, you already know that this author finds little reason to stray beyond the fashions of the 1960’s. Besides, any runway show you could ever attend has borrowed heavily from all that has come before, if not  just blatantly plagiarized. This glorious early spring beckons my inner coquette to come out; this must be accompanied by dresses...

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Sunday Prayers: Crawford’s Bakery Building 16th & Capitol

This building has been on the potential chopping block for awhile. And frankly, its future is still not secure. I wrote an article in the WTH section of the website 2 years ago yesterday (coincidentally), so it’s definitely time for an update and for redefining it as a Sunday Prayer… The building has been vacant for more than 2 years, but it remains a beacon of beautiful design in a sea of schlock. (That godawful oddball white structure to the north of the building and the seemingly endless blocks of asphalt turn my stomach–I don’t know about you. The...

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Christ Church Cathedral – Lesser Known Facts

It’s the oldest structure on the Circle, everyone knows that. Right? So let’s look at some other highlights you may not know: There used to be four churches on the Circle: Christ Church Episcopal, First Presbyterian (formerly at the other end of the northeast quadrant), Wesley Methodist Chapel, and Second Presbyterian–where Henry Ward Beecher once preached. This parish started in 1837 on the same spot where it continues today. The current building–of early English Gothic style–cornerstone was placed on June 25, 1857 and the first service was held in the building on May 22, 1859. It was designed by...

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Heritage Steward: Lorraine Phillips Vavul

*As a side note, this week we wanted to showcase a devoted volunteer who works at this job in addition to a daytime career; there are so many ways to make a difference to history and heritage! NAME: Lorraine Phillips Vavul TITLE: Chair FOR: Historic Urban Neighborhoods of Indianapolis (a.k.a. HUNI) SINCE: 2008 ORIGINALLY FROM: Indianapolis YOUR JOB DUTIES INCLUDE: My HUNI job responsibilities are threefold: 1) Promoting historic preservation, neighborhood revitalization and other improvements within Indianapolis’ urban neighborhoods; 2) Representing and promoting the interests of Indy’s historic neighborhoods to government officials and other authorities whose actions affect the...

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Friday Favorite: Horace Mann School, School 13

Every once in a while, you’ll be wandering around a part of the city that isn’t in your regular regimen and stumble across or rediscover a building, park, site, marker, or some other bright ray of gleaming history that improves your day. This place always grabs my attention–usually from the vantage point of the highway–the former Horace Mann School Number 13. It’s been converted into condos, as you can see from the sign (below). Turns out it was built circa 1873 and designed by Edwin F. May, who also designed the Exposition Building that used to sit at 19th...

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Indianapolis Then and Now: Rivoli Theater- 3155 E. Tenth Street

With all of the attention focused on the near eastside during the Super Bowl Legacy Project, one building is near the top of everyone’s list of restoration: the Rivoli Theater at 3155 E. Tenth Street. The Spanish Mission Revival style theater was designed by architect Henry Ziegler Dietz. It was built in 1927 at the end of the trolley line by Universal Pictures Corporation.  Time is short this week, but a great history can be found on the web page of the Rivoli Center for the Performing Arts.  Here the marquee advertises “Bride of the Regiment,” a musical film...

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Room With a View: Christ Church Cathedral Basement

  If you haven’t yet heard, we were at one of the city favorite’s Christ Church Cathedral on the Circle last week, filming our next “Seldom Seen Spaces” video. Stay tuned–coming in the next couple of days! In the meantime, check out some rarely seen views from CCC- the above and below view from the basement level… The following view is from the bell tower; the slats in the windows are so close together that we couldn’t get a full view… This last view is taken from the northeastern door of the church. A gorgeous place, open 7 days...

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